Marriage proposals as model for courage

My first experience was so painful, that I’m very grateful I had so few proposals of marriage while in Cameroon (probably because I took pains to avoid being in a situation where it could happen again).

Nevertheless, I was frustrated, agitated, bewildered, by what on earth possessed these men to propose to a woman they’d just met. Of course, as a white woman, I represent all the fantasies of appealing, prosperous, decadent North America. I represent these things, and I pose a path to attaining them.

But... A random woman you've just met? What on earth are you thinking?!

I posed this question to the ever-ready-with-a-both-wise-and-cheeky-answer Dan, who replied, “What’s a guy got to lose? The worst you can do is say no.

“...but if he never asks, he has no chance of ever receiving a yes.”

Thank you, Cameroonian men, for giving me a model for taking risks. When I’m about to let fear of failure or of rejection stop me from trying, I think of those marriage proposals. What’s a little embarrassment and a turn-down, compared to the potential of receiving something great? What’ve I got to lose?


Popular Posts